CORONAVIRUS testing numbers have continued to slowly decline in Ballarat the past week with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews renewing a push for people to take a swab.
Premier Andrews on Monday said it was critically important to keep test numbers as high as possible to ensure a "complete picture and confidence" health officials have a proper surveillance in the virus' transmission.
He said coming forward for a test did not mean hindering a chance for moving forward in the next step towards the government's COVID-normal. But it could should "robust" testing numbers drop.
"It is a massive contribution you can make," Premier Andrews said. "...It's a simple but profoundly important thing you can do for your family and every single Victorian family."
Ballarat's primary testing site in Lucas has dropped about 15 per cent in people presenting to be screened the past week.
There were 40 people tested this past Saturday and 39 on Sunday, compared to 51 and 44 the weekend before. The highest weekday tests hit 98 people last week, when there had been a high of 118 people on a weekday last week.
Ballarat Community Health remains taking bookings for its fever clinic in Little Bridge Street.
UFS chief executive officer Lynne McLennan said the Lucas site, run by UFS, was gradually reducing operating hours but was making sure there was still capacity to take anyone with cold and flu or hay fever-like symptoms.
Ms McLennan said it was hard to determine exactly why there had been a fall in testing.
"Some of it could be less cold and flu around this year, but if you have symptoms then there is actually an increased chance it's actually COVID," Ms McLennan said.
"The other issue for Ballarat is we still have people who are legitimately and properly working in Melbourne. The risk is still there they could unknowingly pick up the virus and bring it back with them."
Ms McLennan said this risk also goes for moving about more in other areas of regional Victoria where people were legitimately working in Melbourne.
She said it was important people remain vigilant about physical distancing, hygiene and testing to best protect themselves and the community from a potential outbreak.
Regional Victoria has 23 active COVID-19 cases and almost half of these are in the Colac Otway Shire.
The regional Victoria average is now 1.6 cases per day the past 14 days, which is well below the threshold of five need to reach the third step. Regional Victoria entered step three last Thursday. The last mystery case in regional Victoria was on September 1.
"We must keep testing to get (cases) down to a manageable level," Ms McLennan said. "It's the only way we're going to succeed."
The UFS-led Lucas testing clinic is contracted to keep screening until the end of October but Ms McLennan expected the Commonwealth to extend this period.
- Book a test, call 43 11 1571.
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